A pregnant woman sits in a hospital bed. (Getty Images)

State intends to expand Medicaid to doula services, official says

BY: - January 25, 2024

The state Department of Social Services plans to extend Medicaid reimbursement to doula services for prenatal, delivery and postpartum care for pregnant South Dakotans this year. Efforts are underway nationwide to expand Medicaid coverage, the joint federal-state health insurance program for low-income and disabled people, to doula services as a way to counter maternal and […]

Indigenous Budz marijuana dispensary in Lake Andes. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

‘Critical threat’ to medical marijuana falls as lawmakers consider nine cannabis bills

BY: - January 24, 2024

A Senate panel chaired by a member of the state’s Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee shot down a bill Wednesday with far-reaching implications for cannabis patients. Among nine bills that would adjust South Dakota’s medical cannabis laws this legislative session in Pierre, seven remain alive, including bills to hike the price of a dispensary license, allow […]

State Rep. Tony Venhuizen, R-Sioux Falls, participates in a hearing Jan. 12, 2024, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Medicaid work requirement authorization takes first step toward the ballot

BY: - January 24, 2024

PIERRE — South Dakota legislators took the first step Wednesday toward asking voters for the authority to impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients. The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-1 to send the resolution to the full Senate. If passed by that body and the House of Representatives, the measure will be placed on […]

From left, First lady Jilly Biden, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff join hands as they depart a Reproductive Freedom Campaign Rally at George Mason University on Jan. 23, 2024, in Manassas, Virginia. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Biden, Harris vow to restore protections for abortion rights as 2024 campaign launches

BY: - January 23, 2024

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris moved abortion access to the forefront of their reelection bid Tuesday by making it the centerpiece of their first joint campaign rally of the 2024 election cycle. “With your voice, with your power, with your vote, we can restore the protections that have been around for over […]

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Creative thinking needed to save rural hospitals

BY: - January 14, 2024

Over the last 15 years, approximately 150 rural hospitals have closed nationwide. What does it mean? Are these facilities obsolete, no longer needed?  Maybe in a few places, but in the vast majority of communities they provide critically important services.  In most rural communities, the hospital has multiple roles and is the cornerstone for health […]

A sign noting the acceptance of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards that are used by state welfare departments to issue benefits is displayed at a grocery store in 2019 in Oakland, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Which states will join the new summer meal program for low-income kids? Here’s the list.

BY: - January 10, 2024

WASHINGTON — Children from low-income families in 35 states, four tribes and all U.S. territories will now receive permanent food assistance during the summer months when schools are closed, leaving children in 15 states — including South Dakota — excluded from the benefits. Low-income families will now receive $40 each month for each eligible school-aged […]

Michelle Black of Columbus (center) listens to Lauren Blauvelt speak during the Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom Bans OFF Columbus rally for Issue 1, Oct. 8, 2023, outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Graham Stokes for Ohio Capital Journal)

With abortion on the 2024 ballot, campaigns could see millions in funding from familiar players

BY: - January 8, 2024

Abortion access has been a central question in at least six state elections since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs decision, including ballot questions in California, Michigan and Vermont that added access to abortion care as an explicit right, and 2023’s gubernatorial race in Kentucky, a state with a near-total ban where an anti-abortion […]

Paramedics carrying patient in ambulance at night (Getty Images)

New report recommends state efforts to sustain rural ambulance services

BY: - January 2, 2024

Some South Dakotans who call 911 won’t see an ambulance show up for over half an hour on the western side of the state if they have an emergency. That’s because there simply aren’t enough ambulances to cover the West River region. The problem could worsen as volunteer emergency responders age, fewer South Dakotans volunteer […]

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Nursing home complaints up 38% since last year

BY: - December 21, 2023

Complaints against South Dakota nursing homes are the highest they’ve been in at least eight years. The state Department of Health oversees 97 long-term care facilities, according to its website. It fielded 54 complaints as of Dec. 19 – a 38% increase over 2022 and three times higher than 2021 and 2020, when the state […]

The Palmer Gulch Fire burns in October 2022 in the Black Hills. (Courtesy of Black Hills National Forest)

State disaster report prepares for more natural disasters in coming years

BY: - December 20, 2023

South Dakotans have less than two weeks to review and comment on the state’s new 2024 hazard mitigation plan, which is used to navigate and prepare for costly and deadly disasters. The plan is updated every five years to meet state eligibility requirements for increased mitigation funding from the federal government. The comment period was […]

States rely on federal funding for programs that can aid the disabled. Advocates say changes proposed by the U.S. Census Bureau could undercount the number of people with disabilities and decrease the funding each state receives. Here Prosthetist Erik Lindholm adjusts a prosthetic leg for 75-year-old Karl Sowa on Nov. 10, 2021 in Hines, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Census Bureau’s proposed changes threaten to undercount people with disabilities, advocates say

BY: - December 18, 2023

The Census Bureau has proposed a major change to disability questions on its annual American Community Survey that advocates say will reduce the number of people who are counted as disabled by 40%, including millions of women and girls. The change in available data could affect federal funding allocations and the decisions government agencies make […]

In this photo illustration, packages of mifepristone tablets are displayed at a family planning clinic on April 13, 2023, in Rockville, Maryland. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

US Supreme Court to decide fate of medication abortion access nationwide 

BY: - December 13, 2023

WASHINGTON —  The U.S. Supreme Court announced Wednesday it will hear oral arguments and decide whether broad access to the abortion pill can remain legal across the United States. The justices’ decision to hear the case this term will put abortion access and the politics that comes with it back in front of the nation’s […]